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Laramie Movie Scope:
Down Terrace

Sopranos style gangster soap opera comedy set in England

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 12, 2010 -- This is the sort of thing you'd expect if the Coen Brothers were British and they decided to do their own version of a “Sopranos” movie set in Brighton, England. It starts out in a comfy living room, some friends over for a beer and a chat. Soon you figure out this is an organized crime operation, only it isn't very well organized. They bumble around comically for a while. The godfather of the operation, Bill (played by Robin Hill) seems distracted and unfocused. It looks as though he's an ex-hippie who would rather be a musician playing and singing in a pub than a gangster. The real power behind the throne of this crime family is his wife, the hard-as-nails Maggie (Julia Deakin of “Hot Fuzz”).

Maggie and Bill's not-too-bright son, Karl (Robin's real life son Robert Hill) has just gotten out of prison and the consensus is this crime family has an informant who put him there. Bill and Carl try to figure out who the informant is and they just can't seem to pin it down. All of this seems very chaotic and comedic until the blood starts flowing and Karl and other members of the organization start making regular trips to the country to bury the bodies. The transition from comedy to horror is both sudden and shocking. I guess one way to find the informer is just to kill everybody. By the end of the film, there are very few characters left. The list of suspects gets very short indeed.

This is a pretty good little low-budget black comedy if you like this kind of murderous, silly humor. The characters are quirky and interesting. The acting is solid by the entire cast, including Kerry Peacock, who plays Karl's pregnant estranged girlfriend, Valda. Karl and Valda get back together and want to settle down and aren't particularly interested in a life of crime, while Maggie and Bill don't want Karl to marry Valda. Karl and Valda come up with a way to resolve this family conflict. Michael Smiley of “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” plays another good quirky character, the crook Pringle.

Other than murder, this film doesn't really show crimes being committed, other than some possible drug use. It doesn't show how this crime family makes money, whether it is drugs, thefts, gun running, prostitution, pornography. It just doesn't get into the organized crime operation at all. This film is focused on the relationships between the people in the family and those in the crime organization. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2010 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)